Apple is an interesting company that has built up a reputation for quality and has a strong following of users who remain loyal to the company. Those loyal remain in their ecosystem, using MacBooks, iPhones, and iPads see no reason to switch to alternatives if Apple does what they need to do with relative ease.
Even if alternatives offer better specifications for a cheaper price, Apple has built a strong brand loyalty that compels many to stick with them.
Other working professionals, perhaps those in creative industries or software engineering, have non-negotiable features found on Apple MacBooks whether its specific software or even the ease of setting up UNIX systems to code.
Finally for many, it can simply come down to the simplistic design of Apple products that make it attractive to them.
With every passing year, we’re seeing more features and unique designs of Windows laptops. With COVID surprising the world in 2020, many companies that manufacture Windows-based laptops aggressively improved their offerings to attract the newly-created remote and work from home customer segment.
These Windows-based laptops in the past several years have improved in both specifications and design to the point that they provide reasonable arguments for choosing them over MacBooks, particularly MacBook Pros, in 2022 and the future.
Since there are so many companies competing for the same customer base, such as Dell, ASUS, Lenovo, and HP to name a few, design and quality, in addition to prices, have improved significantly over the past few years for Windows-based laptops.
With many design options and due to the sheer number of competition, you have the freedom to choose the configurations that fit your unique needs. With Apple, you are limited to the offerings they provide to you.
In this article, we’ll go through the best picks if you’re looking to make a switch from a MacBook Pro to a Windows-based laptop. The strengths and weaknesses of each laptop will be listed and compared to a MacBook Pro.
If you are looking for more information on the overall comparison between MacBook Pros and Windows Laptops, jump to the end of the article for a discussion on comparing factors!
We’ve reviewed 5 options that we believe are the best alternatives when considering a MacBook Pro alternative:
- Best Overall Alternative: Dell XPS 13 OLED
- Best for Superior Screen: Lenovo Yoga 9i 14-inch 2 in 1
- Best for Gamers and Designers: Razer Blade 14
- Best Budget Alternative: HP Envy x360 15
- Best 3-in-1 and Touchscreen Capabilities: Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio
- Dell: https://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/laptops/new-xps-13-plus/spd/xps-13-9320-laptop/xn9320fowus
- Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08QN2X5YK
You’ll find Dell’s XPS 13 on many top lists as the best laptops in the market and for good reason. Dell has developed their XPS 13 to be as light as possible with its powerful specifications. With an unbelievable lightweight, small and trimmed build, you’ll appreciate how little space it takes up.
The OLED version is the unique version that offers an impressive OLED screen with an ultra-colorful display. The design quality and material of the XPS 13 is already impressive enough that the OLED screen makes the laptop immediately visually appealing.
For those who enjoy Apple’s crisp and clean design choices, you’ll love the XPS 13 OLED’s high quality materials used to build the laptop.
The specifications are impressive as well, the more affordable model comes with 16 GB LPDDR4X RAM and a CPU of Intel Core i7-1195G7 and if you’re looking for higher performance, there is a 32 GB RAM model as well.
Despite its perfect build, the inclusion of the superior OLED screen causes extra strain on its battery life, making it last shorter than its competitors in the market (such as the MacBook Air or Razer Book 14). Finally, various user reviews have noted the poor WiFi connection that comes built-in with the XPS 13. Laptops sitting beside the XPS 13 had better WiFi connection performance.
All-in-all, the Dell XPS 13 OLED laptop is arguably the best MacBook Pro alternative with its amazing, sleek, and lightweight build with internal specifications nearly rivaling a MacBook Pro.
- Processor (CPU): Intel Core i7-1185G7
- RAM: 16GB LPDDR4x
- Storage: 512GB SSD
- Screen Size: 13.4 inches
- Graphics Processor (GPU): Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- Weight: 2.8 pounds
- XPS 13 line top-notch materials for Dell (chassis and components)
- Crazy lightweight, small and trimmed to minimize the laptop size and weight as much as possible
- Poor WiFi capabilities
- OLED screen results in lower battery life
- Lenovo: https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/p/laptops/yoga/yoga-2-in-1-series/yoga-9i-gen-7-(14-inch-intel)/len101y0011
- Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08XK1HZ66
With the newly updated Yoga 9i, Lenovo has immensely improved on its older model, the C940. Intel’s newly updated processors, Iris Xe graphics and improved memory are all reasons you’ll find the Yoga 9i an all-around great alternative to a MacBook Pro.
With its 2-in-1 feature, you’ll be able to fold it and use it like a tablet. Better yet, the Yoga 9i has had various reviews on how responsive the included active pen is to the screen. Both these features, folding the laptop like a tablet and its touchscreen feature are absent in Apples’ Mac lineup.
Those in unique roles that may take advantage of the superior pen and touchscreen features will find the Yoga 9i a superior option when compared to the Dell XPS 13 OLED reviewed above. This includes people who prefer to work with a stylus or those in design-oriented roles.
As a cherry on top, the Yoga 9i also has an OLED version if you are looking to invest in a superior screen experience. Unlike the Dell XPS 13 OLED, the Yoga 9i has a longer-lasting battery even with the OLED version.
The one notable downside to the Yoga 9i is the lack of customization. Lenovo has limited limits on how much you can customize the laptop, giving you only options if you prefer an IPS or OLED screen.
To summarize, the Lenovo Yoga 9i is a great alternative to the MacBook Pro, especially for those who can take advantage of the 2-in-1 tablet and touchscreen with stylus (pen) feature.
- Processor (CPU): Intel Core i7-1260P
- RAM: 16 GB LPDDR5 5200MHz (Soldered)
- Storage: 512 GB PCIe SSD Gen 4
- Screen Size: 14 inches
- Graphics Processor (GPU): Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- Weight: 3.09 pounds
- Excellent battery life given its strong performance
- Beautiful OLED display that is optional
- 1080p webcam
- Not much customization other than OLED or IPS screen
- Cannot upgrade or change soldered RAM
- Razer: https://www.razer.com/shop/pc/gaming-laptops?query=:newest:category:system-laptops:system-display:14%2Binch
- Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09RBH8GWG
The first thought for many would be “wait a minute, I don’t use my MacBook Pro for gaming!” when thinking about the Razer brand. You’re absolutely correct – one area the MacBook Pro fails at is where the Razer Blade 14 excels at – gaming.
The Razer Blade 14 could simply be described as matching the MacBook Pro in terms of its design, size, weight, and other specifications with the inclusion of a desktop-grade graphics card. It also has several GPUs to pick from, from the starter RTX 3060 up to the powerful RTX 3080 Ti.
The RTX 3080 Ti alone can single handedly match many desktop builds in terms of gaming performance. For those in specific roles that can take advantage of the GPU, for example those who need to render 3D models, general graphics production, or analyzing huge datasets, will find the GPU as a much-appreciated option for additional computing power.
At 3.92 pounds, it is much lighter than nearly all its gaming laptop counterparts which easily weighs over 4 pounds. For example, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 weighs 4.41 pounds and the Alienware R2 weighs 5.15 pounds!
Finally, the battery life is left to be desired – a common problem in every gaming laptop. Due to the power-hungry GPUs, the battery life while unplugged is rather short compared to nearly every non-gaming laptop.
To conclude, the Razer Blade 14 is a great option if having a graphics card is an essential component. Whether you’re using the GPU for work or gaming, the Razer Blade 14 will wow you with its performance.
- Processor (CPU): AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX
- RAM: 16 GB DDR5-4800MHz
- Storage: 1TB SSD (M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 x4)
- Screen Size: 14 inches
- Graphics Processor (GPU): RTX 3060
- Weight: 3.92 pounds
- Able to play modern games with RTX 3xxx series GPUs
- Surprisingly lightweight and small for a gaming laptop
- Beautiful and visually powerful 144 Hz screen
- Very expensive given the inclusion of the GPU
- Poor battery life while unplugged limiting portability
- HP: (White Version with pen): https://www.hp.com/us-en/shop/pdp/hp-envy-x360-15-convertible-pc-464z2av-1
- Amazon: (Black Version no pen): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B087YXSRR8/
The HP Envy brand of laptops is known for its reliable build with attractive prices. When comparing other alternatives to the MacBook Pro, no other laptop comes close to the lower prices found on the HP Envy x360 15 laptops.
When compared to the MacBook Pro, the HP Envy x360 15 underperforms when it comes to its CPU offering as Apple’s proprietary M1 chipset reigns supreme. In terms of the other specifications, like RAM, storage drivers and GPUs, the HP Envy x360 15 is very similar.
What the HP Envy x360 15 has that the MacBook Pro doesn’t have is its 2-in-1 features with touchscreen. This feature is great for those on the move and looking for light writing. Depending on the model you purchase, it may also come with a pen to use with its touchscreen features.
When MacBook Pro’s could easily cost over $2,000 and the HP Envy x360 can go under $1,000, you can’t argue the massive savings between them.
The one notable downside to the HP Envy series is how simply boring it is for many people. Its design, screen, and keyboard build is unremarkable compared to the other alternatives discussed in this article. The materials feel less “premium” than the other alternatives discussed in this article.
To conclude, if you’re looking for an affordable MacBook Pro alternative and don’t care for the extra frills or features, the HP Envy x360 15 is a great choice! You could even buy two of them for the same price as a single MacBook Pro!
- Processor (CPU): Intel Core i7-1195G7
- RAM: 16 GB DDR4-3200 SDRAM
- Storage: 512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
- Screen Size: 15.6 inches
- Graphics Processor (GPU): Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- Weight: 4.02 lbs
- Great build quality given its lower price-point
- 2-in-1 tablet features at an affordable price
- Very strong battery life while unplugged
- Visually unimpressive design; feels just like a typical student or business laptop
- A little big and heavy making the tablet feature for those constantly on the move cumbersome
- Microsoft: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/d/surface-laptop-studio/8srdf62swkpf
- Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09F8XX4NS
The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio deserves a special mention for those looking for MacBook Pro alternatives not because of its specifications, but rather of its robustness of using the laptop in a variety of settings.
With its advertised “Convertible 2-in-1” feature, it’s arguably more of a 3-in-1 setting. You’ll be able to use the laptop like a tablet, or even setting the screen forward where it covers the keyboard positioned behind the trackpad (see the image above as an example).
Those who find stylus and touchscreen features important will love the Surface Laptop Studio. Microsoft has optimized the feel and touch of the pen and the feedback it has on the screen. It’s also been optimized that there are no accidental button presses or finger touches on the screen as you transition from one mode to another.
Unfortunately, when comparing internal specifications to the MacBook Pro, it does fall rather short. For a laptop that is relatively expensive, you’ll find a rather subpar CPU compared to the Apple MI. While the RTX 3050 Ti does sound impressive, it underperforms for a GPU with the “Ti” branding.
All in all, if you’re someone who is looking for a convertible laptop on-the-go in a variety of settings, then the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio is a great choice in lieu of a MacBook Pro.
- Processor (CPU): 11th Gen Intel Core H35 i7-11370H
- RAM: 16GB LPDDR4x RAM
- Storage: 512 GB SSD
- Screen Size: 14.4 Inches
- Graphics Processor (GPU): RTX 3050 Ti
- Weight: 4 pounds
- Great 3-in-1 feature allowing to use the laptop in a variety of positions
- Touchpad and pen (stylus) is robust and top of the market
- Very efficient laptop; long-lasting battery life
- Very expensive
- Performance is poor when compared to the MacBook Pro – even with the fully upgraded version that includes the i7 CPU and RTX 3050 Ti GPU
When comparing alternatives to the MacBook Pro, we’ll have to take into account the various specifications and special features a MacBook Pro does not have to choose the right laptop for you.
Right off the bat, you’ll notice most of the recommended alternatives in the market all have touchscreen capabilities and 2-in-1 designs that allow you to use the laptop as a tablet.
These two specific features may only be useful for certain people and some may never even use these features even though they own these laptops themselves. Take a moment to really consider if you find these features valuable as they command a premium in most cases.
For those who love to write hand-written notes or even designer-type roles that would find designing using a stylus a benefit, they stand to benefit the most from these features.
These features go beyond even working purposes, if you’re lying on your couch or in your bed, having the laptop in a tablet-like setting may be much more comfortable than having it in its typical position.
Think of where and how you will use your laptop and you’ll be able to decide if these features are worth the price.
The MacBook Pro currently has 13, 14, and 16 inch screen models in the market. As mentioned before, moving beyond Apple to other companies allows for the flexibility of choosing various configurations.
Since there are many companies competing for the same audience using Windows-based laptops, you’ll have the luxury of choosing multiple screen sizes with nearly every brand.
When it comes to the memory and storage options, you’ll find nearly all laptops in the market have similar offerings. It comes down to simply how much RAM and storage space you need.
The CPU and GPU offerings on the other hand are relatively different for the MacBook Pro and its alternatives.
Starting with the GPU, you’ll find Apple competitors have advantage as they are more flexible in the options you have. Unlike the MacBook Pro with its GPU part of its proprietary M1 chip, you’ll find Windows-based laptops customizable with a multitude of AMD and NVIDIA-based GPUs.
If you’re looking for more gaming power or GPU power in general, you’ll be able to customize many MacBook Pro alternatives, like the Razer Blade 14 with powerful GPUs like the RTX 3080 Ti.
A quick note, the default GPU that comes on most Windows-based laptops, the Intel Iris Xe, is very comparable to the 13 inch MacBook Pro.
For the CPU, Apple has designed their powerful M1 Pro chip that is more powerful than most i5/ Ryzen 5 and many i7/ Ryzen 7 processors. For those looking to match the M1 Pro chip, a powerful i7/ Ryzen 7 is a comparable chip while the M1 Max chip will require a larger upgrade to i9 / Ryzen 9 CPUs.
Fortunately, for most users, the M1 Max chip is already more powerful than most people need in the market. The M1 Max chip is well over $4,000 USD, beyond what an average user would need in a laptop.
After reviewing the different features offered by Windows-based laptops vs. the MacBook Pro, you should start by deciding on how important 2-in-1 and touchscreen features are for your situation and then work your way from there.
We’ve covered several laptops with the highest recommendation going to the Dell XPS 13 OLED for its high quality build, impressive OLED screen, and comparable specifications for a fraction of the price when compared to a MacBook Pro.
For those looking to utilize the 2-in-1 and touchscreen filters, the Lenovo Yoga 9i and Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio are great options in this category. Those looking to include a top-of-the-line GPU for gaming or other purposes, we highly recommend the Razer Blade 14. Finally, budget seekers, such as students or those looking for a simple laptop, should consider the HP Envy x360.
While these alternatives don’t exactly match 1:1 when compared to the MacBook Pro, you’ll be blessed with many alternatives that provide their own unique features that may be attractive in your situation.
Looking for other laptop recommendations? Check out our article on the best laptops for working from home and those working remotely!